Revision_topic_5

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Introduction to Small Business
Revision Notes
Topic 1.5
Understanding the
economic context
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Market demand and supply
Terms you need to know:
• Demand – the amount consumers are willing and able to
buy at any given price.
• Supply – the amount sellers are willing to offer for sale at
any given price.
• Commodities – raw materials such as coal, oil, copper,
iron ore, wheat and cocoa beans.
• Commodity market – where commodities are bought and
sold.
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Commodity markets
Commodity markets are used by businesses and traders that
need to buy these products for use in other businesses.
Prices in commodity markets change on a daily – evenly an
hourly – basis. These changes occur due to changes in
conditions of demand and supply.
In markets that we use on a day-to-day basis, prices are
much more stable. A packet of crisps in a local shop will
probably be the same price tomorrow as it is today. But why?
Changing prices in shops can be costly for a business. Also,
consumers like prices to remain constant; regular price
changes can lead to confusion.
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Changing interest rates
Interest rates are the percentage reward or payment over a period of time
that is given to savers or paid to borrowers on savings or loans. Changes
in interest rates affect businesses in two ways:
Falling interest rates
Rising interest rates
• Lower fixed costs due to lower • Higher fixed costs due to higher
Small
loan repayments
loan repayments
businesses • Greater incentive to invest
• Borrowing becomes more
expensive
Consumer
spending
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• Higher spending due to lower
mortgage payments
• Less incentive to save due to
lower returns
• Higher mortgage payments =
less spending (especially on
luxury items?)
• Greater incentive to save
Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Changing exchange rates
Exchange rate – the price of buying foreign currency. It is
the value of one currency in terms of another. For example,
an exchange rate of £1/$1.50 means £1 will buy $1.50.
You need to understand how changes in
the value of the pound (£) to the dollar
($) and the euro (€) affect small
businesses.
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Changing exchange rates
Revision tip
A good way to remember the impact of changing exchange rates on business is by
the mnemonic, SPICED.
Strong, Pound, Imports, Cheaper, Exports, Dearer
Example
- A UK business want s to import $10 000 of materials from the USA.
- At an exchange rate of £1/$1.50 the UK business will pay £6666.67
($10 000/$1.50).
- If the UK exchange rate strengthens to £1/$2, the same order will cost
the UK business £5 000 ($10 000/$2).
- In other words, the stronger pound has caused lower costs for the UK
business.
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Calculating exchange rates
Worked example:
To convert pounds to a foreign currency, multiply the amount of pounds by the
rate. Example:
Exchange rate = £1/$1.50
To find the value of £500 in dollars, the following calculation should be
performed: 500 x 1.5 = 750
£500 will buy $750
To convert an amount in a foreign currency to pounds, divide the amount of
pounds by the rate. Example:
Exchange rate = £1 / €1.10
To find the value of €300 in pounds, the following calculation should be
performed: 300 / 1.10 = £272.73
€300 is worth £272.73
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
How do business cycles affect small
businesses?
Business cycle – fluctuations in the level of economic
activity over a period of time. Most economies experience
times when economic activity is rising and others when
economic activity is slowing.
Small businesses can be affected by the business cycle.
In a recession – when economic activity is slowing –
consumer spending falls. This might affect the business
negatively. It depends on the type of product it provides.
A luxury cafe might see lower sales when incomes fall.
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Impact of the business cycle on business
Businesses need to be aware of the phase of the business cycle that the
economy is in. They also need to be able to respond to the changes that
might occur in different phases.
Phase of the
business cycle
Downturn/
Recession
Recovery/
Boom
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Possible impacts on business
Possible business
response
• Rising unemployment
• Falling consumer incomes
• Less consumer spending on luxury
and non-essential items
• Reduce prices
• Cut costs – reduce number
of workers; cheaper
suppliers
• Change type of product
• Rising employment
• Rising income levels
• Increased consumer confidence –
more likely to take out loans to buy
expensive items.
• Rising consumer spending
• Inflation – higher costs from suppliers
• Possible need to employ
more workers.
• Pricing to reflect the fact that
consumers have higher
incomes.
• Increased advertising
Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
How does business affect stakeholders?
Stakeholders are individuals or groups which have an interest in and are
affected by the activities of a business. Stakeholders include:
Suppliers
Customers
Local
community
Workers
Managers
Owners
Government
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Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
Stakeholders: conflict of interest
Conflict of interest – businesses need to be aware that
decisions that are intended for one stakeholder group might
affect other groups. For example:
1. A decision to increase wages of employees is likely to
reduce profits for shareholders (at least in the short term).
2. Changing suppliers to reduce costs will be negative of the
old supplier, but may result in lower prices for customers.
© Pearson Education 2010
Edexcel GCSE Business Unit 1 Exam Preparation
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